About David Clark

David J. Clark is a husband, father, and farmer in Randolph, Vermont.

To Work Is Not Quite to Pray

St. Benedict has often been (mis)quoted as saying, “Labora est Ora”. Or: “To work is to pray”. It is not clear precisely what was meant by this phrase when it first was propagated, but the guiding sentiment seems clear enough: Work - that activity whereby we take up and transform the creation towards some productive end -, can count as an act of worship.   The Christian tradition’s attitude towards work would seem to make such a sentiment attractive. For the Christian … [Read more...]

Omnivory and Christianity

I am a troubled omnivore. Or more precisely: I am a troubled, Christian omnivore. I eat meat, but I do not do so without caution and without doubts; and it is my Christianity that is responsible for much of this caution and many of these doubts. I find the relationship between the Christian and food a very complicated one. On the one hand, the Christian is uniquely situated to recognize the sacramentality of the eating act (and with it, to take his food with a heaping portion of delight and … [Read more...]

In Defense of Distrusting Chickens


  Not too long ago I was approached by a gentleman who had read something about my farm in a brochure. He was concerned, he told me. Concerned that my attitude towards my livestock was “overly anthropomorphic”. He didn’t like that I named my pigs, or spoke to my sheep about the weather, or talked about my chickens as though they were in the business of forming conspiracies against the rest of the barnyard. Perhaps, he told me, there was no harm done, since I certainly must know … [Read more...]

Christian Symbolic Action

Regarding my most recent Fare Forward essay, two questions have been repeatedly asked of me. The first: Why think that symbolic action occupies such an important place in the Christian life? And the second: I’m not sure I understand the sorts of symbolic actions you think are so important to the Christian life; could you say more? I debated which of these two questions to take up today, and settled on the latter. My apologies to those more interested in the former. Let me begin by trying to … [Read more...]

Christian Commitment, Symbolism, and Farming


  The Christians I am closest to tend to fall into one of two camps as regards the question of “orthopraxis” --- the question of what right Christian practice looks like. One camp sees right Christian practice as oriented “internally”: the practices that matter most before God are those which belong to my own inner life or to my individual communion with God. Prayer, meditation, the cultivation of a devotional life --- these practices stand preeminent over what might be called … [Read more...]